- Associated Press - Friday, March 2, 2018

PARIS (AP) - “The Oscars, the Oscars,” was the refrain used by Paris Fashion Week organizers to explain the low-key turnout Friday for top stars who normally flock to the City of Light’s coveted front rows.

Whether it was Sunday’s Academy Awards in Los Angeles or Friday’s French equivalent, the Cesars, that kept A-listers at bay it didn’t seem to affect the energy levels at the 80s’ disco-themed Balmain collection.

Here are some of Friday’s highlights, including shows by Nina Ricci and Issey Miyake:


An opulent staircase with golden banisters and red velvet led up to a gilded salon inside Paris‘ Hotel de Ville.

It was the fairytale setting for designer Olivier Rousteing’s fashion spectacle for Balmain on Friday morning that quickly put to rest any question about which Paris Fashion Week show would be the day’s biggest.

Rousteing is a showman and no detail goes unmissed - including incorporating the dazzling spirit of the storied City Hall into the shimmering clothes. One of the first looks - a loose silvery top and sheer, sheeny cropped pants - sported teardrop paillettes that mirrored the hall’s 15 large crystal chandeliers.

Disco was at the heart of this high-energy early Eighties-themed collection that featured 90 sparkle-heavy ensembles. Guests smiled and tapped their feet as the infectious disco soundtrack included Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”

Horizontal stripes across the torso were this season’s leitmotif. It produced a catchy blue-and-black sequined jacket worthy of Michael Jackson and was twinned with sensual black PVC pants.

Flashes of neon yellow produced the show’s most standout looks such as a jaw-dropping fur coat.



In case the cold drizzly Paris weather threatened to put a damper on the fashion proceedings, Issey Miyake came to the rescue.

Designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae channeled a wrapped-up, fashion-forward aesthetic for fall-winter in which he wove wool into the textiles. The show’s decor got guests into the homely mood - orange neon light sticks were abstractly piled up, resembling a fire underground in Paris‘ Palais de Tokyo.

A winter wonder-wardrobe kicked off the collection with furry, snow-kissed all-white ensembles. The featured knits in the house’s famed steam-stretch fabric showed subtle wavy lines.

The clothes had an almost medieval feel in their unusual silhouettes and thick, rough textures. Minimalist boots with one single strap stylishly seemed to merge serf with space-age.

Sinewy hooded jackets, fashioned in dark material in sometimes trapeze silhouettes, had a beautiful fabric trim in vivid color that beautifully blurred the lines between art and fashion.



Although poetical clothes that riffed on military styles were the order of the day at Nina Ricci, fashionistas’ minds were elsewhere.

Front row chatter at the collection in Paris‘ chic 8th arrondissement centered on unconfirmed reports that creative director Guillaume Henry would quitting as designer in a spat about investment in the storied house, and that Friday’s show would be his last.

The reports threatened to overshadow the collection and forced Nina Ricci to issue a statement in which they categorically denied his exit.

“All the information stated within the news is pure speculation that does not respond to reality,” the house said.

Henry took over from Peter Copping as the brand’s designer in October 2014 and has had mixed reviews.



On the runway, it was military themes with a dash of sex at Nina Ricci.

Bright red opened the show to set off the soldier theme that designer Henry has used as a touchstone in recent collections. The historic styles of British army regiments were evoked on a long cleanly cut coat with horizontal rope fastenings and initials on the collar.

The venue of the Hotel Potocki, a noble palace that was once the fashionable salon of the Countess Emanuela Potocka, was ripe for such historic musing.

Lapels were adorned in a military style with gold foliage motifs that rose up to a high, tight collar.

The sensuality turned into sexuality at several points. A Latex shirt dress had a shimmery feeling of spilled oil - and a croptop with articulated bosom evoked lingerie and a state of undress.


Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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